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Saving Falling Rims

I'm working on an order for a set of plates and bowl.  The customer wants an angled rim on the bowls.  They look nice and make it easier to serve in this style bowl since it gives the server someplace to hold the bowl while keeping our fingers out of our guests food.  These bowls are made with a pretty sharp angle to the rim.  I expect that the rim will raise a bit in the kiln so I need to compensate for that.  The problem is that by compensating I'm also creating a dramatic angle that can easily collapse while I'm working on it.  Proper compression will help prevent a fall but sometimes it happens while the rim is being formed and before really good compression can be achieved.

Lipped Soup or Salad Bowl by Future Relics
Lipped Pottery Bowl

Most potters have seen this happen when they are first starting to throw and in students work.  It's especially discouraging for a student who has worked very hard to make a bowl only to have the side of it collapse.  Thankfully it is possible to save the pot.

If the bowl is being thrown on a 12" bat, and the rim of the bowl is not as wide as the bat (meaning less than 12" in diameter) you can easily flip the bowl upside down and hang it from the edge of a 5 gallon bucket.  I normally would use a couple of rulers or dowels to help suspend the bat and make it easier to take it out of the bucket later.  This also allows some air into the bucket so the clay can dry.  Gravity will bring it back into shape.  After a day or so you should be able to take the bowl out of the bucket and finish working on it since the clay will be stiffer.  Just remember not to over saturate the clay with water.

Saving a collapsed pottery bowl by Future Reilcs
Hanging a Bat Over a Bucket


If the rim of the bowl is larger than 12" you can suspend the bat on 2 yard sticks or long dowels suspended across the top of 2 buckets.  This would dry faster since it would be exposed to more air but you also need to take care that the bowl isn't hit with anything while suspended this way.  When it's inside a bucket it's protected by the bucket.

Whenever my students are trying to save a piece I try to remind them that they need to remember that it is already broken and we are just trying something that may or may not work.  The piece you save may not look like the piece you intended to make since warping tends to happen inside the kiln.  Also, if it takes more time and energy to save a piece than to remake it, is it really worth the trouble?


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Comments

  1. Neat idea! I am impatient... I use a torch to stiffen the clay a bit and finish working on it. Or maybe I just love to play with fire.

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    Replies
    1. The torch or a heat gun is a great idea, if you can use one in the studio and safely.

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  2. After throwing a large piece it's difficult to give it up if something goes wrong. This technique gives it one more chance to be something cool.

    This is my 5th year of making pots and I still fight the urge to keep pieces that aren't great. I get this silly feeling of compassion for the piece that wasn't good enough for the kiln ;)

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    1. You're right Cindy, it is difficult to loose something you've worked hard on.

      I feel that same compassion also. Thankfully, before it's fired it can always be recycled into a new pot.

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  3. Whenever my students are trying to save a piece I try to remind them that
    wise words to remember ...
    they need to remember that it is already broken and we are just trying something that may or may not work. The piece you save may not look like the piece you intended to make since warping tends to happen inside the kiln. Also, if it takes more time and energy to save a piece than to remake it, is it really worth the trouble?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Never would have thought of that! Thanks for sharing my dear!

    Shawna
    Jsbarts.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Shawna, I hope you never need to take this out of your bag of tricks but if you do I hope it helps.

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